In the new musical Lysistrata Jones, making its Broadway debut tonight, composer and lyricist Lewis Flinn ’89 and playwright Douglas Carter Beane have transported a classic Aristophanes comedy to a modern college campus. The original play featured Greek women withholding sex from their warrior husbands as an effort to end the Peloponnesian War. The modern adaptation has more modest ambitions: A cadre of newly chaste cheerleaders aims to end the losing streak of the fictional Athens University basketball team.
After a brief, well-received run at a gymnasium in Greenwich Village, Lysistrata Jones took the leap to Broadway, beginning previews last month. And according to Ben Brantley’s review in The New York Times, published last June, Flinn’s score played a key role in the musical’s appeal. In Brantley’s words, the score “channels middle-of-the-road club music and chart toppers of the past few decades and inflects them with primal percussion and Broadway pizazz.”
Flinn, a music major as an undergraduate, has written scores for a handful of musicals and composed songs for The Little Dog Laughed, a Tony nominee for best play in 2007. His credits also include themes for the primetime TV game shows The Power of 10 and Million Dollar Password.
While knowledge of Aristophanes is hardly a prerequisite for Lysistrata Jones audiences, Flinn believes that those with some knowledge of the Greek playwright will enjoy the details of the musical. “I went to Princeton and have a lot of classics major friends,” he said in an interview with Playbill. “They’ve come and they just think it’s really funny. You can draw parallels to the real Lysistrata. It’s fun, for the people who want to go there.”
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